Before I get too wrapped up in the new year, I wanted to take a chance to take a look back on some of my favorite baseball photos from 2012. I’m always trying to improve as a photographer and I know that I have a lot yet to learn. It seems the more I shoot the more things I find that I can improve on, but I also like to think that I’ve made some progress in that endeavor.
The photos below are some of my favorite baseball photos from the past year for various reasons. Sometimes I just liked the light, colors, shapes, or even just the tone of the photo. They may not be particularly meaningful in any certain way, but what I try to do with my baseball photos is to highlight the things that make baseball…well…baseball. What I especially like to focus on are details and the setting. Since baseball is a game of very deliberate pace it lends itself well to the types of shots I enjoy shooting. I love keeping my eyes open for small details between plays or trying to imagine different ways to capture the setting. With so many games each season it allows for a lot of experimentation and opportunities to get shots I’ve never captured before.
Before I get to my favorite photos, I wanted to mention that 2012 was also the first year that I started using Instagram and I absolutely loved capturing baseball within the limitations of an iPhone camera and a square format. It really made me approach the game with a different perspective and I had a blast trying to find new things to capture within those limitations. You can find a small gallery of my favorite baseball Instagrams at the following link: Baseball Instagrams
You can also follow me on Instagram: @ben_c_krause
Without further delay please enjoy some of my favorite shots from 2012. Where I feel it’s needed I will provide an explanation as to why I like a particular photo.
I really loved the vibrant colors in these previous two photos with the bright red standing out against the darker blues and greens behind them. In the Phillies photo I especially liked the Liberty Bell logo on the socks and Jimmy Rollins’ custom cleats.
The beautiful green grass with the long shadows caused by the setting sun made this photo for me. It’s just a peaceful mid-summer baseball photo.
This is a technique I really want to explore a little more in 2013. It’s done entirely in-camera where I choose how many exposures to take for the given frame. I should have tried it more this past year, but I think it’s going to take some very particular lighting conditions to really make it impactful. I’m hoping I can make a much better photo this next year using this technique if I can find the right opportunity.
To me this photo just quietly screams baseball and it speaks to the deliberate pace of the game I was talking about earlier: a batter warming up on deck chewing gum in the warm sunshine of an afternoon ballgame outdoors.
Whenever I used to look at baseball photos growing up for some reason shots like this always caught my interest with the afternoon sunshine and the infield dirt flying up. Really tight shots of players sliding into a base are always some of my favorite shots.
This is definitely one of my top 5 favorite shots from 2012. The Twins usually do a “kid’s lineup” every Sunday where kids get to go out to each position and meet the Twins player playing that position prior to national anthem. This young man was “playing” catcher, but before the Twins catcher got out to home plate the umpires were already waiting for him. I got lucky and captured this at just the right moment with the young kid looking up in a little bit of bewilderment at the unfamiliar surroundings while the umpires surrounded him. I believe the umpire with his arm’s crossed was just giving that look playfully, but I think it really helps give the photo a story.
Another one of my definite favorite photos of the year because of the way the light allowed the Twins superstar catcher, Joe Mauer, to be completely isolated in the photo. I also think it’s a little bit of a different perspective that you wouldn’t normally have the ability to capture. This was taken at the bullpen as Joe was heading to the dugout before the game started. At Target Field there is a photo position above the batter’s eye in center field and it is immediately adjacent to the bullpen. There is one spot on the batter’s eye where you can lean out and look straight down on the players as they head out to the field and that’s what allowed this shot to happen.
What I mostly liked about this photo were all the horizontal lines and the layers they created. It starts with the seats that lead up to the rain soaked dugout with the MLB logo to give it some context, then up to the green field, and then finally the tarp covering the field.
Just a portrait I liked of a superstar player in the rain.
I took my first trip to Boston in August, so of course I had to get a shot of the wooden seats in Fenway Park. I did a little bit of toning and added saturation to accentuate the features of the seats.
This was a cloudy, rainy game in April that I thought would make some good black and white photos. Part of the idea I had was I wanted to see if I could make photos that might feel like they were shot 100 years ago or something, except using my modern camera equipment. I discussed this idea in the first post I made about the 2012 baseball season.
This is a photo that I had starting thinking about almost a week before the game. The reason is because of the start time of the game. There are only maybe 3 or 4 games each season at Target Field where the game is ongoing as the sunlight filters through the canopy of Target Field and drapes the field in light and shadows. During most of the season this light has already crossed the field by the time the game starts. The only real chances of getting this light are games that start in the mid-afternoon in the early or late parts of the season. Most games either start very early in the afternoon where the shadows never reach the field during the game or in the evening where the shadows have already crossed the field before the game starts.
So when I found out this game in late September was going to be starting in the late afternoon and that I would be shooting it, I crossed my fingers that it would be a sunny day. Luck was on my side because not only was it sunny, but reigning AL Cy Young and MVP Justin Verlander would be on the mound for the visiting Tigers. Beautiful light helps make beautiful pictures.
Just a classic Joe Mauer double.
Using slow shutter speeds is another thing I want to experiment more with in 2013. During the turn-back-the-clock game in June I wanted to get a shot that captured a bit of the context for the game. The bases with their special plates made for the game provided the context, but it needed another feature. The high socks with the great orange stripes that a few of the Twins players were wearing helped provide the missing feature. This shot took a little bit of luck and patience to capture. Only 2 or 3 of the Twins players were wearing these socks, so I could only attempt the photo when one of them was up to bat and also put the ball into play. The shutter speed was also very slow, so in order to make the base sharp and clear I needed to hold my camera extremely steady as the player was making contact with the base. So what I did was place my monopod tightly between my feet and knees with the camera pre-focused on the base. Then all I had to do was wait for the player to put the ball into play. I got particularly lucky as this batter got a base hit, which meant the 1st baseman would not be in the shot as the runner rounded the base and helped make a little bit cleaner shot.
Light streaking the outfield as #7 rounds the bases after hitting a home run in a throw-back uniform. I’ll almost certainly never be able to make this image again.
Two things put this image over the top for me: 1. the afternoon light and 2: the wall of cheering fans filling up the background. To me it just made for a classic baseball celebration photo.
This was the result of the longest game in Target Field history. It took 15 innings and a rain delay in the middle of it before the Twins defeated the border rival Brewers. I liked how the two fastest players on the team were chasing each other in celebration after Span got the game-winning hit.
Summer means baseball and fireworks. Target Field makes for a great setting.
A packed Target Field in the great golden hour sunlight. It sure is a fantastic setting for baseball.
A shot where I just liked the pattern created by the seats and there being exactly one group of fans on each level waiting for the game to start.
Another shot that shows the great setting that Target Field provides for baseball. I also liked how Wilson Betemit was the tallest object in the image making him look like a giant as the pitcher and batter duel.
One of those detail shots showing something that is unique to baseball. The defocused green background provided a nice backdrop.
The dreads, the beard, there is no doubt it’s Prince Fielder. I just like these types of shots that give ordinary fans a view they wouldn’t normally see on TV or in the stands.
Shadows and solitude.
Scott Diamond has a very specific wind-up where he curls his glove under his forearm and I wanted to capture that in the shadow as he warmed up before a game.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you very much for taking a look at some of my favorite baseball photos of 2012! With any luck I hope to get the opportunity to capture many more baseball photos in 2013.
All content Copyright 2009-2014 by Ben Krause | Freelance Photographer based in Minneapolis, MN | 612.799.6008 | firstname.lastname@example.org